Interview: FOCAC Beijing summit opens new chapter of China-Africa cooperation, says Nigerian expert

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-04 12:31:11|Editor: Shi Yinglun
Video PlayerClose

by Olatunji Saliu

ABUJA, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- The ongoing Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has opened a new chapter of cooperation between China and Africa by raising the profile of African infrastructure and modernity, a Nigerian expert said on Monday.

In an interview with Xinhua, Charles Onunaiju, director of the Center for China Studies in Abuja, said "China-Africa cooperation is a win-win (situation) not just for China but for the world."

Onunaiju said the prospect of this year's FOCAC is given greater value by the Belt and Road Initiative process, "which is very important for Africa."

The Belt and Road Initiative is at the core of Africa's desires for infrastructure connectivity through seaports, railways, highways, industrial clusters to promote economic activities, he said.

Onunaiju said the landscape of Africa, which has significantly changed in the past three years due to China-Africa cooperation, will witness more changes with China's 60 billion U.S. dollars of financing to Africa, announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in a keynote speech at the opening of FOCAC in Beijing.

The financing will be provided in the form of government assistance as well as investment and financing by financial institutions and companies.

Onunaiju said this financing arrangement opens up vistas of hope and opportunities for African countries to improve their infrastructure deficits.

"That is not a small amount of money. For a country like Nigeria that has come up with its economic plan and recovery arrangement, it has found a new vigor in the package that President Xi has delivered this morning," he said.

China also announced it will implement eight major initiatives with African countries in fields such as industrial promotion, infrastructure and connectivity, trade facilitation, and green development, in the next three years and beyond.

The eight new initiatives will significantly aid massive development, Onunaiju said.

He advised African countries to upscale their policy platforms to take advantage of these new initiatives and plans.

Onunaiju said President Xi's speech was "very impressive" and reflected that China-Africa cooperation is a coordinated approach to the epochal partnership between the two sides that are ready to work together to build shared visions.

"The speech reinforces the key characteristics of the FOCAC process. Every plan that was uttered in that forum is meant by every side that is involved in the process," he said.

"It is a plan of two important partners wanting to drive a process of inclusive globalization in which no nation is left behind," he added.